|By Joey Holleman, The State (Columbia, S.C.)|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The Small Business Health Options Program, or SHOP, was designed to allow companies with up to 100 employees to offer a menu of insurance options to their workers. The "employee choice" portion of SHOP was to provide individuals in the company group policies options similar to the gold, silver and bronze plans offered on the federal
In the struggle to roll out the Affordable Care Act's federal marketplace website last year, the SHOP program portion of the website was scrapped. Though some aspects of the program were implemented through paper documents, the "employee choice" provisions weren't available in the 32 states using only the federal marketplace for 2014.
With the decisions on how to operate in 2015 looming, 18 of those 32 states asked the federal government to delay "employee choice" for another year.
The impact of SHOP will be difficult to track this year because few businesses have signed up in the states where it was fully implemented. In
The delay "is unfortunate because this was one of the big selling points for the marketplace for small businesses," Knapp said.
(c)2014 The State (Columbia, S.C.)
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